Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Barack Obama: More Pork than Promise

Recently, AOL did a survey of the 10 people that are admired most. The list wasn't limited to modern times or the United States. In fact, Jesus Christ himself made the list and he was second only to Barack Obama. With those kind of ratings, expectations are very high.

So, tonight, when "the Messiah" entered the Halls of Congress, the American people were expected to get "wowed!" What that got was a lengthy list of promises that stand contrary to his commitment to cut the deficit in half in four years (one of his more recent commitments). The following are some "highlights" of what the President intends to do in order to not only "improve the economy," but to also fundamentally change the way we are governed.

The following are two examples in the Obama agenda of why only 13 cents of every dollar actually goes to job creation and raises concerns that the American people have bought into a questionable bill of goods.


"Because of this (recovery) plan, families who are struggling to pay tuition costs will receive a $2,500 tax credit for all four years of college. And Americans who have lost their jobs in this recession will be able to receive extended unemployment benefits and continued health care coverage to help them weather this storm. "

This is the kind of aggressive spending program that will do little to add to jobs, but will do a great deal to add to the deficit. Getting a college education in this country is already more achievable than many other parts of the world, which is why we have so many people from around this planet in our universities. Some financial burden in pursuing a degree will heighten the "ownership" attitude of those who are pursuing it. Don't get me wrong, I can tell one first hand that this has been a challenge for my family (my wife and I have eight children). Some times they start at community college, they have to take a little longer to finish, but all of these things lead to better students and, I believe, a better education system. Besides being costly, adding tax credits like this will also cheapen the educational system.

Health Care

"This budget builds on these reforms. It includes an historic commitment to comprehensive health care reform - a down-payment on the principle that we must have quality, affordable health care for every American. It’s a commitment that’s paid for in part by efficiencies in our system that are long overdue. And it’s a step we must take if we hope to bring down our deficit in the years to come... I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. It will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough. So let there be no doubt: health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year."

His vision of Health Care Reform is socialized medicine. Besides being terribly inefficient (I have an aunt and grandfather who died as a direct result of the British health care system, these programs are expensive. The Health Systems Innovations Network (HSI) "estimates the Obama plan would cost $452 billion per year, or more than $6 trillion over a 10-year period. The dramatic difference between this estimate and others is largely a result of HSI's assumption that under Obama's mandate to cover children, the federal government would subsidize virtually the full cost of coverage. Also, HSI finds that the employer mandate would add sizable costs to the federal government."

Obama has been saying that we have reached "the beginning of the end" of government as we knew it and he is right. Instead of a country that gave some regard to economic freedom and individual responsibility, we are becoming wards of a nanny state that plans on taking care of us through systems that are too costly, inefficient, and fundamentally opposed to the values that made us great.

Kevin Price is a syndicated columnist whose articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media. Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at PriceofBusiness.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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